Newman News Term 4 Week 9: From the Principal

Dear Parents and Guardians


Over the last week we celebrated Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ at a variety of events and liturgies across the College.  The highlight without doubt was the magnificent Christmas Carols evening.  Congratulations to the Primary school for their participation led superbly by Ms Ava Bilton.

The students have been immersed in a variety of activities that have reflected our Marist family spirit.  The joy of Christmas is here and we look forward to spending time with our families over the summer break.

PK-5 Awards

Our awards ceremony was held in conjunction with our Christmas Carols evening.  The awards in our College are now aligned across PK-12. Congratulations to all award winners.

Year 6 Graduation

Congratulations to Year 6 for a beautiful Graduation, celebrated with Mass in the Champagnat Chapel and Ceremony in the JHN learning Hub.  It was a fitting end, exemplified by a wonderful spirit and excitement about what lay ahead.

Thank you to Classroom teachers – Robyn Hatchett, Delia Kretzmann, Erica Horn and Lucy Zambonetti  – and specialised teachers, and all who have been part of their journey during their time at primary school. 

Particular congratulations to all award winners for their significant achievements

College Productions 2023

After a period of discernment and consultation I am pleased to announce that our College Productions for 2023 are:

Y3-9The Lion King


Both musicals will provide students every opportunity to let their light shine.  My thanks again to all members of our community for your participation and contribution to our Arts program.  Our students, families and staff are highly valued and it is hoped that, together, we can continue to grow our program in the years ahead.

Audition dates will be conveyed early next year by Ms Yvonne Wiese.

Annual School Improvement Plan (ASIP) 2022

Last week we evaluated our ASIP for 2022.  The Strategic Priority areas are:

1.A Catholic School in the Marist Tradition

2.Transformational Learning

3.Culture of Innovation and Excellence


Each Priority Area has a series of intents which we seek to measure each year.  In 2022 highlights included:

  • The strengthening of our Religious Education program in both curriculum and formation across the College
  • The growth of our PK-12 Literacy Plan
  • The development of our Middle Leadership Program, Accelerator – Drive to Excel, which saw Newman College being awarded an Australian Educator Innovator Award.
  • Consolidation and development of our Primary school relocation
  • Student led sustainability project

The results will be published in the 2022 Annual Report, which will be located on the College website in the coming weeks.  2023 is the final year of the current Strategic Plan and there will be opportunity to be involved in a community consultation for our new Plan.

Thank you

As 2022 and my tenure as College Principal comes to a close, there have been many groups and individual people who have made a significant contribution to the development and growth of our College. 

A full list of thanks and acknowledgements will be in our College Yearbook available in 2023.

This has been my sixth Marist community and I have been nourished by the example of our Churchlands Marist Community. I wish to acknowledge and thank the Marist Brothers involved in our College community; in particular Br John Furlong, Churchland Brothers Community Leader, Br Terry Orrell, Campus Minister, Br Paul Murphy, Education Assistant, Br Noel Hickey and Br Joe Hughes for their presence in our lives. 

The gift of leading a PK-12 community is the richness in the diversity of children across all ages and the various parts of our school.  Our students reflect our aspiration which is for them to realise the gifts and talents God has given them.  Each student is valued and is valuable and I thank them for their presence and in making Newman College the great school that it is.

Thank you to the College staff for your tireless commitment to your work and more specifically to our students.  Your professionalism, energy and passion for your craft is exemplified not only in our results but in the culture that values people and celebrates growth. 

To the College Executive and Senior Leadership Team, my thanks to your unwavering support of me, characterized by a love of work, a listening ear and a joy that has made my role so much easier.  Particular thanks to Dr Lucie McCrory, Vice Principal, for her tireless commitment to excellence and animation for staff and students. 

Throughout my seven years at Newman two members of our College Executive have been there from the beginning – Steve Halley-Wright and Josie Parker.  They have been an incredible support to me exemplified by a Marian heart and wisdom that has enabled me to be a better leader. Stephen’s work as Director of Finance and Administration is without peer and foundational to our growth for years to come. Josie in her 25th year as Executive Assistant at Newman College was recognised with a Marist Award for excellence in Melbourne recently for her outstanding commitment and service to Marist Education. She exemplifies our Marist characteristics in every facet of her work and presence. We wish her every blessing in her retirement.

Finally, to all members of our community, thank you. For my wife Anita, our children Ursula and Stephen, we have been blessed with the privilege of being part of this great Marist community. Our prayer for the future is that the transformational power of the love of Jesus Christ continues to nourish this College, best summed up in the words of our founder St. Marcellin Champagnat,

“May their lives been an echo of what you have taught them”

John Finneran